Raphinha, who joined Barcelona in a mega-money move earlier this summer, has named the reason behind his transfer. The Brazilian credits his former coach Marcelo Bielsa as a key factor in his career progression.
FC Barcelona paid Leeds United a staggering 58 million euros – plus add-ons – to sign winger Raphinha on July 13, 2022. Leeds, in turn, made a hefty profit on their initial 17 million euro investment, two years after they had signed the Brazilian from Ligue 1 side Stade Rennais.
Raphinha scored 17 goals in his 67 appearances for the Whites over two seasons. However, his direct play style and the ability to be the key difference maker for his side in crucial moments stood out and attracted top European clubs to his talents. Nevertheless, The Brazil international played down his capabilities in a recent interview, crediting, instead, former Leeds head coach Marcelo Bielsa with his striking development.
“He is a coach who helped me a lot from the first moment I arrived at Leeds,” he said of Bielsa.
“He always demands more, he always demands the best performance from you. He helped me get into the national team and he helped me get to Barça. If it wasn’t for his guidance I probably wouldn’t be here. He was an important person for me and for my career.”
Raphinha also spoke of how Bielsa’s coaching differs from that of his current manager Xavi Hernandez, claiming that the Argentinian tactician has a style completely of his own.
“Marcelo has a unique way of working. It’s the ‘Marcelo Bielsa style’, let’s call it that. Every coach is different. Just as each person has a way of leading their life, each player and each coach is different in their work,” he added.
Raphinha scored on his unofficial debut for Barcelona in a six-nil rout of Major League Soccer side Inter Miami. However, his crowning moment as an early-season fan-favorite came in the Blaugrana’s next match against rivals Real Madrid, whom they beat 1-0 thanks to a wonder-strike from the 25-year-old.